Paul’s Two Complementary Ministries Contrasted

Denis Clapham, Birmingham

Paul was made a minister of the Gospel, Col. 1. 23, and also a minister of the church, 1. 24-25. Both ministries are alluded to in Romans 16. 25-27, "Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began", etc. The apostle's letters which chiefly unfold these two ministries are Romans (dealing with the gospel) and Ephesians (dealing with the church). Two sections, one in each of these letters, make for an interesting comparison when set side-by-side.

"For I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of these things in the which I will appear unto thee", Acts 26. 16.

Romans 11. 13-36 (24 verses)

  1. End of doctrinal chapters.
  2. Paul, apostle of the Gentiles, v. 13.
  3. A mystery, "blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in", v. 25.
  4. Exhortation and warnings, w. 20-22.
  5. "Unsearchable judgments", v. 33.
  6. Depth of riches - both of wisdom and knowledge, v. 33.
  7. Doxology, Amen. v. 36.

Ephesians 3. 1-21 (21 verses)

  1. End of doctrinal chapters.
  2. Paul, prisoner for you Gentiles, v. 1.
  3. A mystery, "of Christ . . . that the Gentiles should be fellowheirs", etc., vv. 4-6.
  4. Prayer, vv. 14-19.
  5. "Unsearchable riches", v. 8.
  6. The riches of His glory, v. 16.
  7. Doxology, Amen. vv. 20-21.